Who will fill Pendle’s chief executive role?

The news that Pendle may not have a chief executive worries me greatly.
Nelson Town Hall.
Photo Ben ParsonsNelson Town Hall.
Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson Town Hall. Photo Ben Parsons

While I abhorred the name change from town clerks to chief executives and telephone number salaries, never the less, a council should have a non-political person at its head.

From the council’s website I learned that Stephen Barnes is responsible for the overall policy and direction of the council and for the co-ordination and performance of its staff. He is the lead adviser to the council and its executive and is the head of paid service. He represents the council on a number of strategic partnerships with other councils, public sector agencies and private sector interests. He is also the primary link with the council’s private sector partner, Liberata, who provide a number of services for the council as well as being the returning officer for elections and electoral registration officer.

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All of this begs the question: who is going to take over these important and often vital functions? It surely can’t be Philip Mousdale, the current deputy. A further check of the website shows that he is responsible for customer services, public engagement, democracy and governance which covers: the development of the council’s contact centre, council shops and other reception points; public services, such as refuse collection, parks and environmental health; communications; complaints; elections and member and officer conduct. Anyone with half a brain can see that he has more than enough on his plate.

I sincerely hope that councillors do not intend to step into Stephen’s shoes for history has repeatedly shown that when politicians at any level become involved in business or finance matters they do not have the nous to run a whelk stall. So to Coun. Joe Cooney and Tony Greaves I would say, if the council intend to axe the role of chief executive, let us know now, not next year, what plans you have to fill the role.

G. Metcalfe

Smith Street, Nelson

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